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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 5 months ago

Week 11: Medieval Europe IDs




Many people compare Charlemagne to King Author of England as the greatest Christian king. A rather large difference is that Charlemagne actually lived and we have records of his life. Charlemagne was born in Germany in 742 C.E. He didn't have a very good education but he could read and speak a couple of languages. He became king at the age of twenty-nine when Carloman II died. When he was thirty-one he received a plea from the pope to help get rid of the Lombard Desiderius who was invading the Papal States. Charlemagne obliged, won, and took the crown of Lombardy. This was the beginning of fifty-three campaigns that created his empire, most of which he led himself. The pagan Saxons to the north accounted for eighteen campaigns alone. They burned down a church and worshiped Gaul. Charlemagne gave them the option of baptism or death and promptly executed 4500 when they refused. The nativity was celebrated the next day. One of Charlemagne’s soldiers was killed on a retreat from Spain where they were trying to conquer the caliph of Cordova; he was Hruodland who later became the subject of one of the most famous poems, The Chanson de Roland. Charlemagne fought his last at the age of sixty-three when he decided to create a stronger government. Charlemagne was a good ruler. He tried to find out why people where restless and what he could do to help. He also made military service a requirement. He divided his kingdom into countries each of which ruled by an arch-bishop or bishop and a count who reported to him. Charlemagne also established something of a Magna Carta for his people which solved the problems of the appointed rulers becoming corrupt. Charlemagne was against serfdom and actively fought it. He was one of the first people to reestablish schools so that people could learn to read. He was appalled at the illiteracy of his time and wanted to fix it. Charlemagne himself was one of the students. He worked hard to understand writing but because he began so late in life he never got it down. Charlemagne was extremely generous to the church and studied the bible to the extend that he would quote it to people who he believed to have sinned. Out of Charlemagne’s cooperation with the church came one of his most brilliant ideas. His Empire should be come the Holy Roman Empire and he the Holy Roman Emperor. The only problem was that there was already a Roman Emperor, the emperor in eastern Rome. The church had no power to transfer the title and doing so could have caused a war. On Christmas in 800 Pope Leo III put a crown on his head when he was praying and he became the Holy Roman Emperor. It is rumored that Charlemagne once said he wouldn't have entered the church had he know he was going to be crowned. This coronation effected things for over 1000 years. The pope had more power than he would have. The Church was able to become more powerful as well. One reason Charlemagne didn't like the title was he had to dress up in jewels and fine clothes when he preferred dressing as common folk would. Charlemagne had eighteen children four wives and five mistresses. His wives and mistresses actually preferred to share him than be married to another man. He wouldn't allow his daughters to marry because he said he couldn't stand to be without them. Charlemagne had three sons who he divided his empire among. Two died before he did leaving the middle child, Louis as his successor. Charlemagne died of a fever when he was seventy-seven leaving behind a massive empire and a reign that would be talked about for centuries.

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